The world’s oldest international tournament is the last bastion of the traditional points method of two points for a win, one for a draw and none for a loss. But New Zealand superstar Dan Carter believes bonuses would encourage more positive play, with most competitions now awarding four points for a win, with an extra point awarded for four tries or more, two for a draw and one for a defeat within seven points.
“I definitely think it would be great,” said the double World Cup winner, who now plays for Racing 92 in France.
“We play with them in all our competitions back home, always chasing the four tries to get the bonus point. It entices you to not only look for the win... I think it’d be good up here too.”
Speaking yesterday ahead of Sunday’s match with France at BT Murrayfield, Scotland assistant coach Nathan Hines said: “There’s different styles of play from different teams. But I don’t know, do you have the stat on what the ladder [table] would be with bonus points? If you give me the data we could have a more informed discussion.
“At the moment it’s just fine, I don’t think there’s been any negative play because of lack of bonus points, I think teams are playing to their strengths.”
However, centre Alex Dunbar thinks it could be an idea worth pursuing.
“Everybody has a different mindset on this,” said the Glasgow Warriors player. “We want to go out there and play an attractive brand and score tries.
“Sometimes there is a lot of mistakes in the game and you don’t get tries. If you want to play exciting rugby and score a few tries an extra bonus point here and there won’t go amiss.”
Following the recent World Cup, when no northern hemisphere nations made it to the last four, comparing the standard of rugby in the southern hemisphere Rugby Championship and the Six Nations has come into sharp focus.
One perceived stumbling block to bonus points has always been the slim chance that a team could win the Grand Slam but miss out on the championship.
However, that could potentially be solved by awarding a special super bonus for a Grand Slam.
Last year’s Rugby Championship, which is contested by the four World Cup semi-finalists New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and Argentina, averaged 5.5 tries per game, with this year’s Six Nations currently averaging 3.3.